2013 Pinnacle Winner Round Table Discussion pg. 45
INSIDE: Innovation Valley Green Carpet Tour pg. 47 + Monthly Economic Indicators pg. 50
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Norfolk Southern celebrates the opening of its new Thoroughbred Bulk Transfer facility with Knoxville Chamber CEO Mike Edwards, Scott McGregor, vice president of Norfolk Southern Group, Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, and Doug Lawyer, Chamber vice president of economic development.
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Real Estate: Commercial Real Estate: Property Management Construction & Contractors
Great American Sign Company
East Tennessee Health Information Network
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Restaurants - Eating & Drinking Places
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A Winning Discussion The Knoxville Chamber invited its 2013 Pinnacle Business Award winners to join in a round table discussion on May 10. Joining in the conversation were: Robin Rhea, senior brand manager of Radio Systems; Misty Mayes, president and CEO of Management Solutions, LLC; Greg Campbell, vice president of operations for Design Innovation Architects; Norman McCrae, CEO and founder of Caris Healthcare; David Gensterblum, president and CEO of Aqua-Chem, Inc.; Jorge Sanabria, president of ExpoQuip, Inc.; Ted Wampler Jr., president of Wampler’s Farm Sausage Company; and Matt Tunstall, president & CEO of Stall Talk. Mark Field, the Chamber’s senior vice president of membership, led the conversation. The following are excerpts from the discussion.
very successful and it’s always great to be recognized for excellence in our community. Thank you for being role models to other businesses in our community in your categories and giving them something to aspire to. My first question is – what’s the best piece of business advice you’ve been given?
MAYES: I probably have two things that I’ve tried to remember through the years. The first one – especially being a small business and being a woman owning a small business – is don’t go to a customer and say here’s what I do, now give me work. You’ve got to do your homework before you go to a customer. By identifying their mission and pain points first, you can go to that customer and say “I understand your business line, what your initiatives are and here’s what my company can do to bridge those pain points and to provide service to you.” And the second thing I’ve learned is your customers are the most important – you shouldn’t be worried about internally figuring out what your profit is as much because your customers are going to set that profit, and so you have to take care of those customers, you have to partner with those customers, and so those are my two key things. CAMPBELL: I would say that keeping your eyes on the big picture is a good piece of advice I’ve received. You have to keep an eye on your industry and how things are changing because they constantly move. In architecture, software changes on a regular basis and delivery methods change for construction on a regular basis. You’ve got to try to stay in front of those things and be on the cut-
FIELD: I want to start out by saying congratulations and thank you so much for participating in the business awards this year. I know your companies are
K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 45
See “Round Table” on pg. 46
“Round Table” continued from pg. 45 ting edge of it – don’t think I’ll wait on things to catch up, so staying ahead is very important.
SANABRIA: I think a piece of advice that I was given many years ago and that I always think about that is a good business transaction is when both parties win. A lot of times in business people want to take advantage of the situation and they feel that if they make the most money, they were the winner of that business transaction. In my opinion, it’s a win-win when both people involved in the business transaction win. It’s the ultimate goal that you want. McCRAE: I have a good piece of advice. People-decisions are always the most important decisions you make. Decisions that involve people... making leadership changes or hiring people or whatever, but those are the most important decisions you make. GENSTERBLUM: I’ve got a couple of sound bites that have always been thrown at me over the course of my career. One of them was always the statement of it all begins with people, which you can extrapolate both internally and externally. Another one is that many years ago a practice of “I” over “E” – intelligence over emotion. I think in this day and age a lot of people end up making decisions based on emotional value versus seeing the data. And one is what gets measured gets completed. It sounds kind of simplistic from that vantage point, but I’m amazed how many people really don’t measure the outcome or the performance of certain objectives.
FIELD: Robin, Radio Systems won the Impact Award, which is given to a company in our community that shows high commitment to civic responsibility as well as doing well in business. Everybody knows the PetSafe brand and that Radio Systems is a really good company. But give me some sort of a sense being an associate at Radio Systems how the culture there exists that makes it possible for you guys to be contributors to our community.
RHEA: Well, certainly it begins with our leadership. It’s a message that’s very important to them and they live it. It’s not something that we talk about in meetings – you see it all over the building. And our values are reflective of it, which hang in every meeting room. And the concept of being bigger than you are by yourself is huge for us and we talk all the time about the legacy that we want to leave with our products as well as how we operate. And I like what (Sanabria) said about win-win. That’s certainly one of our values as well. And when you are rewarded for your talents and then you recognize that, you have an obligation to give that back to the community in a way that will create a win-win and be a lasting legacy. So I think it starts with our leadership and it’s really what is built in to our values so that it’s really, as you say, a part of our culture. FIELD: Matt, you created a business that’s grown exponentially over the last couple of years in the midst of one of the tougher times, if not the toughest time, to start a business. Talk a little bit about the resources in the Knoxville community. You know, we just opened a new Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, but talk about the resources in our community that made it possible for you to launch that business and become successful so quickly.
TUNSTALL: I applaud Knoxville for all of its recent efforts to help entrepreneurs. I think the biggest problem that entrepreneurs are facing in the Knoxville community is the shortage of mentors. We need successful business leaders to step up and help set an example of how young, up-and-coming entrepreneurs are supposed to act in business. Our young entrepreneurs in the community do not have a solid understanding of standard business protocols; I was three weeks out of college when I launched Stall Talk at UT. It would be helpful if Knoxville had a directory of mentors for entrepreneurs to call and ask questions. The University of Tennessee, I think is one of the most under utilized resources in our entrepreneurial community. We have access to so much information and so much knowledge across so many fields of study. Also, the Knoxville Chamber’s Propel Mentorship Program helped immensely. Doug Minter, who started the Propel program and was my mentor in his own program, was actually the one who told me to do all of those things. His business development background, relationships, and overall understanding of the political arena were integral to my successes. Entrepreneurs of Knoxville (EOK) is another great resource in our community for aspiring, first time entrepreneurs. EOK is run by veteran entrepreneur, Leo Knight, who volunteers his time to helping anyone with an idea turn it into a real business. Last, but not least, Technology 2020 holds quarterly pitch competitions that offers a cash prize and free office space to winners. The money I made from winning a few of those pitch competitions helped me stay afloat while I worked on my business plan and revenue model. So that’s some of the resources that I utilized, and, you know, I’m forever thankful for it. FIELD: Ted, Wampler’s won the Innovator Award and the specific innovation that I think set you apart was the fact that you guys are taking food manufacturing “off the grid.” Talk about what kind of a commitment it takes to focus on sustainability like that which really is completely company changing.
WAMPLER: Well, it is a culture change in our business. I’ve got a friend, Luke Abbott, with Monterrey Provision out in California, who says that every company has a culture. It’s either a culture by default or culture by design. And we kind of defaulted into a design of sustainability with our very first solar project that sprung out of Solar Knoxville, and the USDA, the Rural Energy for America Program. We got support from those places and so we got into the very first project. It was really small, 30 kilowatts, 168 BP panels on top of the roof of the sausage kitchen. And so from there we began to recycle, conserve water, just one thing after another. It’s unbelievable how much water we’ve saved. We put in our own recycling system in the plant for cooling water, for example. So we did all those things. Then we went into a huge solar project in 2011. And that’s a half an acre, half a megawatt. And after that we met Sam Weaver. And meeting Dr. Weaver got me committed because I believe in him and what he’s doing. He’s actually a brilliant man. And so what we’re going to be “net zero grid connected.” We’ve had a lot of help out of like LCUB, so we became committed through our board with that culture change. The board, our management team, the officers, and all of the long-term employees really believe in what we’re doing. We share our profits with our employees through our profit sharing plan so everybody’s pretty excited about this, because we’re going to be able to eliminate a huge bill and control that cost. But it will be nice at the end of the each month to have a zero electric bill. Visit www.knoxvillechamber.com/pinnacle to read the entire transcript of the discussion.
K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 46
Innovation Valley Rolls Out ‘Green Carpet’ Innovation Valley recently welcomed four site selection consultants and the editor-in-chief of Site Selection magazine for the second annual Green Carpet Tour. The consultants are based in: Cleveland, Ohio, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, and Dallas. Site selection consultants work with companies looking to expand or relocate into new markets. The Green Carpet Tour gives these consultants a first-hand look at the region’s incredible natural and technological assets, as well as its dedication to green business practices. “We have to continue to market the Knoxville region and create brand awareness to those who might not know about the area,” said Doug Lawyer, vice president of economic development for the Knoxville Chamber. “We also need to highlight the region’s technology assets at UT, ORNL, and Y-12.” The tour kicked off on May 13 with a reception at Outdoor Knoxville, where Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero welcomed the group. After the reception the site selectors dined at Ruth’s Chris Steak House and learned more about assets of the Innovation Valley and its regional approach to economic development. The first full day of the tour took the consultants to the L&N STEM Academy, where they met with school administrators, learned about the proposed CTE Magnet School and the regional STEMspark initiative, and toured the historic L&N facility. The consultants met with University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Chancellor Jimmy Cheek and Cliff Hawks, president and CEO of Cherokee Farm Development Corp., at Neyland Stadium. After learning about the university and Cherokee Farm Innovation Park, the consultants had lunch with leading business executives from the area, who offered personal insights on what its like to operate a business in the Innovation Valley The tour then moved on to Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where the consultants
met with Thom Mason, director of ORNL and Innovation Valley chairman, and Tom Rogers, ORNL’s director of industrial partnerships and economic development. The group learned about the strengths of the lab including: supercomputing, the spallation neutron source, carbon fiber research, as well as toured the historic graphic reactor. The day concluded with a visit to the Y-12 New Hope Center, where they spoke with John Eschenberg, Rhonda Rice, Knoxville Chamber executive vice Uranium Processing Facilpresident, and Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero ity project director for the chat at the Green Carpet Tour reception on May 13. National Nuclear Security Administration. Here an overview of the UPF opportunities for the region was presented to group. The consultants then dined with Oak Ridge Mayor Tom Beehan, local business leaders, and regional partners. The consultants wrapped up their visit on May 15 with a facilitated discussion at the Knoxville Chamber. “We hope these consultants seriously consider the Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley in the future when they are helping their clients’ businesses decide where to locate,” Lawyer said.
Innovation Valley to Manage Low Fare Initiative Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero and Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett held a joint press conference at McGhee Tyson Airport on May 15 to announce a regional partnership that will promote competitive airfares. The initiative, called the Competitive Airfare Partnership (CAP), is part of an Innovation Valley strategy to encourage business relocation and industrial development efforts. This is the first time private and public entities have teamed up to bring lowfare carriers to the Knoxville area. The partnership currently consists of the city of Knoxville, Knox County, Innovation Valley, Inc., Visit Knoxville, and the Knoxville Chamber. Additional partners, both from the public and private side, are currently being recruited. “The CAP effort is a great opportunity for the private sector to partner with the public sector to help lower airfares at McGhee Tyson and directly impact economic development,” said Doug Lawyer, vice president of economic development for the Knoxville Chamber. The partnership’s goal is to raise $3 million to entice low-fare carriers to come to McGhee Tyson. “This is something we know we’re going to have generate proceeds so we have a seat at the table, so we can be legitimate with those carriers to let them know
we mean business, we want you here,” said Mitch Steenrod, chairman of the board for the Knoxville Chamber. Securing enhanced low-fare carrier service would have a tremendous impact on the region’s economy and tourism industry. Not only would it help boost economic development as it relates to business recruitment, but it would also increase the overall market of visitors to the region from other parts of the country. A low-fare carrier would help lower ticket prices across the board for more affordable travel from McGhee Tyson. “We’ve seen regional partnerships like CAP work in other parts of the county, and the time is right for the Innovation Valley region to get sustainable low-fare air service in our market,” Lawyer said. “Both business and leisure travelers benefit from lower fares.” Market research shows that approximately 20 percent of Knoxville-area travelers are using other airports for their boarding points. Based on 2012 passenger levels for Knoxville, that 20 percent represents 310,000 additional passengers, or 425 departing passengers per day. However, bringing a low-fare carrier can reverse this leakage and stimulate the market by 10 to 20 percent – providing another 200 to 400 passengers per day. Lawyer said the partnership will be reaching out to the private sector soon and encourages anyone who is interested to contact him at the Chamber at 865-637-4550.
K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 47
Minority-Owned Business Excellence Award Finalist Charles Crowe and his wife, Edwena, enjoy the reception prior to the awards.
Eddie Mannis (right), owner of Prestige Cleaners, presented the James A. Haslam II Chairmanâ€™s Leadership Award to Raja Jubran, president of Denark Construction.
Renee Stone, Alice Eads, Wade Knapper, Christie Knapper, and Harry Gross at the reception sponsored by Provision Center for Proton Therapy.
Knoxville Chamber board Chairman Mitch Steenrod (far right) and his wife, Debby, catch up with Mike Akers.
K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 48
Nearly 600 business leaders gathered at the Knoxville Convention Center to celebrate excellence in business.
Alex Kleto, Wilma Hobby, Jessica Holly, Kelly Bacon, Cecilee DeNardo, and Andreia Domingos helped celebrate the evening with their boss, John Sharpe, a finalist for the Young Entrepreneur Award.
Sarah Connor, Kent Stanley, and Michelle Garlington represen Workspace Interiors at the awards.
Missy Wallen, Tennessee president of presenting sponsor BB&T, addresses guests at the start of the awards program.
All of the eveningâ€™s award winners gathered back onstage for the Toast To Excellence, sponsored by EnergySolutions.
K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 49
MONTHLY ECONOMIC INDICATORS
NOTE - Knoxville MSA includes: Anderson, Blount, Knox, Loudon & Union Counties
Resident Labor Force Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee U.S.
% Change Apr. ’12Apr. ‘13
% Change Mar. ’13Apr. ‘13
233,890 368,350 3,110,700 154,739,000
232,270 366,110 3,102,700 154,512,000
235,460 371,530 3,073,700 153,905,000
0.7 0.6 0.3 0.1
-0.7 -0.9 1.2 0.5
Note: February workforce numbers were unavailable at time of printing.
Residential Closings Residential Inventory Median Residential Price
Apr. 2013 1,118 14,728 $143,000
Mar. 2013 1,094 13,929 $137,275
Apr. 2012 966 14,368 $147,200
% Change Mar. ’13Apr. ‘13 2.2 5.7 4.2
% Change Apr. ’12Apr. ‘13 15.7 2.5 -2.9
Source: Knoxville Area Association of Realtors
Non-Ag Employment Knoxville MSA Tennessee
RESIDENTIAL BUILDING PERMITS
Total Single-Family Multi-Family
Mar. 2013* 30 30 0
Mar. 2012 40 10 30
% Change Mar. ’12Mar. ‘13 -25.0 200.0 -100.0
Total Single-Family Multi-Family
111 111 0
185 83 102
-40.0 33.7 -100.0
Total Single-Family Multi-Family
143 143 0
214 112 102
-33.2 27.7 -100.0
Total Single-Family Multi-Family
1,599 1,305 294
1,964 1,127 837
-18.6 15.8 -64.9
Available Labor Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee
16,590 27,200 274,820
15,890 26,440 277,370
15,200 25,270 259,340
4.4 2.9 -0.9
9.1 7.6 5.9
6.4 6.7 8.0 7.1
6.2 6.6 8.1 7.6
5.8 6.1 7.6 7.7
0.2 0.1 -0.1 -0.5
0.6 0.6 0.4 -0.6
Unemployment Rates Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee U.S.
Sources: Tennessee Dept. of Labor & Workforce Development/U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
INFLATION RATES - CONSUMER PRICE INDEX (CPI)
*Southeast Region Avg. U.S. Avg. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
- ALL ITEMS
% Change Mar. ’12Apr. ‘13
% Change Apr. ’11Apr. ‘13
*South – City Size Class B/C
*All 2012 building permit data is preliminary and therefore subject to revision throughout the year. Sources: U.S. Housing & Urban Development – SOCDS – State of the Cities Data Systems; U.S. Census Bureau – Building Permits Survey
SALES TAX REVENUE - STATE & LOCAL ($) State Sales Tax Knox Co. Knoxville MSA Tennessee
47,711,895 66,186,549 613,603,724
43,245,237 59,785,985 538,531,912
49,251,883 68,997,164 617,909,545
10.3 10.7 13.9
-3.1 -4.1 -0.7
Local Sales Tax Knox Co. Knoxville MSA
% Change Apr. ’12Apr. ‘13
% Change Mar. ’13Apr. ‘13
AIR SERVICE (MCGHEE-TYSON AIRPORT)
Feb. 2013 111,815 6,738,025
Jan. 2013 115,984 7,671,100
Feb. 2012 126,402 7,422,837
Source: Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority
Source: Tennessee Dept. of Revenue
RETAIL SALES - NATIONAL (IN MILLIONS OF DOLLARS) Category Total Retail Sales Building Materials Clothing Stores Electronics & Appliances Food & Beverage Stores Food Svcs & Drinking Places Furniture & Home Furnishings Gasoline Stations General Merchandise Stores Health & Personal Care Stores Miscellaneous Stores Motor Vehicle & Parts Sales Non-store Retailers Sporting Goods/Books/ Hobby/Music
Apr. 2013 416,504 29,405 19,173 6,995 51,453 46,404 7,647 44,966 48,971 22,693 10,322 82,169 39,437
Mar. 2013 427,779 23,942 20,713 7,821 55,297 47,790 8,258 46,888 51,397 23,565 10,345 84,433 39,909
398,514 27,305 18,526 6,915 51,271 44,246 7,185 46,882 50,349 22,686 9,432 74,008 33,136
% Change Mar. ’13Apr. ‘13 -2.6 22.8 -7.4 -10.6 -7.0 -2.9 -7.4 -4.1 -4.7 -3.7 -0.2 -2.7 -1.2
% Change Apr. ’12Apr. ‘13 4.5 7.7 3.5 1.2 0.4 4.9 6.4 -4.1 -2.7 0.0 9.4 11.0 19.0 4.5
Source: U.S. Census Bureau – Advance Monthly Retail Trade Report
K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 50
% Change Jan. ’13Feb. ‘13 -3.6 -12.2
% Change Feb. ’12Feb. ‘13 -11.5 -9.2
McNally Talks Budget At Chamber Briefing taxes the elderly who have dividends in stocks and bonds,” State Sen. Randy McNally gave Knoxville Chamber McNally said. members an overview of the state’s recently passed McNally said education was a top priority in setting the $32.8 billion budget at the Legislative Briefing on May 9. state’s budget. This year, funding for K-12 education will McNally R-Oak Ridge, was the Chamber’s featured increase by $77.2 million and funding for higher education speaker at the briefing, sponsored by AT&T. The event will increase by $49.9 million. aims to keep East Tennessee’s business community up to For K-12, $51 million in new money is assigned for date on matters in state and local government. technology upgrades for schools. There is also $34 million As chairman of the Senate Finance Ways and Means designated for capital projects. However, McNally said Committee, McNally explained several key goals that there is some flexibility in the use of this money. went into forming the 2013-14 budget, including balanc“It will be money that the schools can use for other ing the budget, reducing the tax burden, investing in things if they need an updated security system or resource education and jobs, and making a significant deposit in officers,” he said. the rainy day fund. The budget also includes $35 million for raises in K-12 McNally said the state was able to reduce the tax teacher salaries. burden by about $43 million this year. He added that at Higher education also got a boost with a $300 million No. 47 nationally, Tennessee has a very low tax burden capital outlay program. McNally said that about $100 per capita. million went to the University of Tennessee system. The The session was successful in eliminating the gift tax Complete College Tennessee Act, a comprehensive reform and is in phase two of eliminating the inheritance tax, also agenda on public higher education, was funded with $35 known as the death tax. The exemption for the inheritance million, as well an additional $5 million in scholarships for tax is gradually being raised until it is completely elimithe Tennessee Student Assistance Corp. program. nated in two years. The food tax was also decreased from State Sen. Randy McNally and Allan Hill of AT&T at the Locally, the budget has appropriated $200,000 for the 5.25 percent to 5 percent. Legislative Briefing on May 9. Knoxville Zoo and $30,000 for the Legacy Parks FoundaThe exemption for the Hall tax was increased from tion. The Legacy Parks Foundation money will be matched by both the city and $24,000 to $33,000 for single income, and $37,000 to $59,000 for joint income. county government and be used to promote business in South Knoxville. This tax effects people 65 years or older. However, legislators took a step further and passed a “no state income tax” resolution that would completely eliminate the Hall tax if approved by voters in 2014. Eliminating the tax would cost the state about Sponsored by: $200 million. “It’s a tax that was enacted in 1929, meant to tax the rich, but now it just mainly
Six Member Companies Selected For U.S. Chamber Blue Ribbon Award The Knoxville Chamber congratulates six member companies on their selection as 2013 U.S. Chamber of Commerce Blue Ribbon Small Business Award winners. Always Moore Janitorial Service, Analysis Measurement Services Corp., Knoxville Comprehensive Breast Center, Partners Development, Prestige Cleaners, Inc., and The Trust Company of Knoxville were chosen from a record number of nationwide applicants and were honored at this year’s America’s Small Business Summit in Washington, D.C., the first week of May. The Blue Ribbon Small Business Award is presented to companies that show excellence in financial performance, business history, staff training and motivation, community involvement, customer service, and business planning. “We are thrilled these companies have received national recognition,” said Mike Edwards, president and CEO of the Knoxville Chamber. “They are excellent examples of the quality small businesses in operation across Innovation Valley, and we are proud to have them represent our region.”
Michelle Oglesby and Dr. Kamila Kozlowski accept the Blue Ribbon Small Business Award for the Knoxville Comprehensive Breast Center from U.S. Chamber President and CEO Thomas Donohue.
The Knoxville Chamber submitted 11 applications from past Pinnacle Business Award winners for the 2013 awards.
K N O X V I L L E C H A M B E R | 51
June Bright Ideas Seminar to Focus on Strategic Planning The Knoxville Chamber’s next Bright Ideas seminar will be held on June 12 and will focus on the fundamentals of strategic planning. Eric Fields and Lyle Crosby with the Summit Companies of Bristol, Tenn., will present the seminar, which will cover the basic steps involved in the strategic planning process and will demonstrate how organizations of any size can use strategic planning to develop a blueprint for success. Gwen Rogers, director of information systems and strategies for the Knoxville Chamber said: “Having a strategic plan is like traveling with a GPS; you get to your destination efficiently and effectively. Without one, you might get to where you want to go, but you may get a little lost along the way.” She believes that this Bright Ideas seminar will help improve the vision of the businesses in attendance.
The presentation is sponsored by AT&T and will be co-produced by the Knoxville Chamber and TSBDC. Fields is the founder of Summit Companies and focuses on assisting organizations with designing and implementing strategic plans. Crosby is a management consultant who specializes in quality management and consulting. To learn more about this seminar or to register to attend it, please visit the Chamber events calendar on www.knoxvillechamber.com. Registration is $25 for members and $35 for non-members and includes a boxed lunch.
New CTE Magnet School Proposed For Fall 2014 At Pellissippi Community College Strawberry Plains Campus The proposal for the new Career and Technical Education Magnet High School was met with support from the Knox County Schools Board of Education on April 22. The magnet school anticipates to be housed on the Pellissippi State Community College’s Strawberry Plains campus by the fall of 2014. Eighth- and ninthgraders in Knox County would be recruited for the CTE high school program. At maturity, the school hopes to enroll around 500-600 students. Incoming freshmen will research and study the four clusters areas – advanced manufacturing, sustainable living, teacher preparation, and homeland security – and determine which best fits their interests. At the end of the freshman year, students will declare a “cluster major.” This will prepare them to continue on to a technical college, university, or career after graduation. Local
employers will be needed to provide advising services and internship possibilities for the students. “Obtaining internships while attending school will be mandatory to help prepare the students to acquire certification in their chosen concentration,” said Jennifer Evans, vice president for public policy at the Knoxville Chamber. Students will also have the opportunity to earn dual credit/enrollment for the courses they take at CTE. At the ninth and 10th grade level, students would be considered for dual credit. Once at the 11th and 12th grade level students will be able to take advantage of dual enrollment. Depending on the cluster the student has chose, he or she could potentially earn up to 33 hours in college credit. For more information on how to support the CTE school, contact Jennifer Evans at email@example.com.
Norfolk Southern opens bulk transfer terminal in Knoxville Norfolk Southern opened its new Thoroughbred Bulk Transfer Facility on May 23. Located just three miles from downtown off Interstate 275, the $5.9 million facility is well-positioned to reach markets in the area, as well as extend the reach of the TBT facility network to more effectively serve markets such as Kingsport, Loudon, and Morristown in East Tennessee as well as Western North Carolina and Southwest Virginia. The terminal will be managed by RSI Logistics. Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero provided the opening remarks for the ribbon cutting. “We are so excited about this partnership between Norfolk Southern and RSI, which helps to strengthen the logistics infrastructure of this region,” Rogero said. “Bringing more industry to our community will have a direct impact on jobs and our local economy.” The facility boasts 48 car spots that allow customers to transfer a wide array
of products like dry/liquid bulk, ethanol, steel, etc., between rail cars and trucks. Norfolk Southern has a network of 31 TBT facilities in 17 states. With two facilities in Chattanooga, this is the third TBT terminal in Tennessee. “I want to thank Norfolk Southern for their continued support of the Knoxville community,” said Mike Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero speaks at Edwards, president and CEO of the the opening of the Norfolk Southern ThorKnoxville Chamber. “This new bulk oughbred Bulk Transfer Facility on May 23. transfer facility will help in our industrial recruitment efforts to sell the region to companies that are interested in shipping raw materials via rail.”
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‘Big Idea’ Competition Teams Selected The contestant pool for the What’s the Big Idea?! business plan competition was narrowed down from 15 to nine at Team Selection Night on May 7. Inspired by the hit television show “The Voice,” Team Selection Night added a new dimension to this year’s competition – engaging successful, local entrepreneurs as coaches for the contestants. After hearing five-minute pitches from all of the contestants, the coaches – Parker Frost, founder of Gigmark Interactive; John Tolsma, owner of Knowledge Launch; and Jimmy Rodefer, CEO of Rodefer Moss & Co., PLLC – each chose three contestants for their teams. All three coaches are past recipients of the Knoxville Chamber’s Pinnacle Young Entrepreneur Award. “Participating in WTBI is a great opportunity to support the great efforts of the Knoxville Chamber while at the same time helping emerging business and overall economic development in our region,” Rodefer said. When it came to selecting their teams, the coaches took different approaches. Frost said he focused on ideas that could come to fruition in the near future, had mass-market appeal, and could become a reality without a million dollar investment. Tolsma asked himself three questions when evaluating the candidates. “Did I see passion in the people behind the ideas? Was it truly a Big Idea? And did I know enough about the industry that I could add value? If that combination stood out, I grabbed that team member,” he said. Rodefer said he looked for team members who were developing products and services he understood and capitalized on unique opportunities in markets not already saturated. The coaches have one month to prep their teams before the Knock Out Competition on June 3. Frost said the one thing he wants to teach his team in that time is to K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple, Stupid. “So many new entrepreneurs get way too far into the weeds and details of what they are trying to accomplish,” he explained. “With keeping it simple at the beginning, it will allow the entrepreneur to be flexible to the market environments and changes needed to be successful.” All of the coaches agreed that mentors were incredibly important and influential to them when they were starting out as entrepreneurs. Now they’re ready to give back. “There were so many people who coached and mentored me as I started out on my entrepreneurial journey,” Tolsma said. “Being a part of this competition is my way to pay it forward.”
TEAM TOLSMA • Billy Lush Brand – Lifestyle/fitness brand promoting wellness through non-traditional activities • Neural Energy Games – Educational video games company targeting college freshmen level courses • TaTa Coolerz – Insulated, cooling gel packs for women
TEAM RODEFER • Dwelln – Web-based platform designed to simplify role of property manager or owner • Pipefighters Square – Innovative pipe-fitting tool • PTlink – Interactive mobile application that improves recovery by connecting clinicians and patients
TEAM FROST • Greenlight – Frustration Free Email Newsletters – Strategic email communications company • Survature – Online survey tool evaluating respondents’ answers and behavior • TeVal – Web-based platform designed to streamline teacher evaluation process
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Great Crowd Turns Out for ‘Green’ Business After Hours
JUNE 6 Business After Hours
Nearly 200 guests attended the GoGreenET Business After Hours at the University of Tennessee Gardens on May 13. This green-themed event recognized companies participating in the GoGreenET.com Business Recognition program. GoGreenET is a partnership of the Greater Knoxville Business Journal, Knoxville Chamber, Knoxville Utilities Board, Oak Ridge Associated Universities, Hickory Construction, and Thermocopy.
5 – 7 p.m. • Hilton Knoxville, 501 West Church Ave. Sponsored by:
JUNE 12 Bright Ideas – Fundamentals of Strategic Planning Presented by: Eric Fields and Lyle Crosby, Summit Companies 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. • Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square $25 for Chamber Members/$35 for non-members (includes a boxed lunch) Sponsored by:
JUNE 13 Premier Partner Event featuring Bill Johnson, president and CEO of TVA 7:30 – 8:30 a.m. • Knoxville Chamber, 17 Market Square
JUNE 20 What’s the Big Idea Finale 5 – 7 p.m. • Relix Theater, 1208 N. Central Street, 37917 Sponsored by:
Justin Sterling of Simon Property Group, Antonio DeLuca of CEMEX, Amy Nolan, editor of the Greater Knoxville Business Journal, and James Scott of CEMEX pose for a photo. CEMEX was one of this year’s Green Achievers recognized at the event. Sponsored by:
JUNE 27 Peelin’ Eatin’ & Politickin’ Shrimp Boil 5 - 7:30 p.m. • The Amphitheater at World’s Fair Park $25 for Chamber Members/$35 for non-members
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Published on Jul 2, 2013